MagMod made their debut on the photography scene in 2013 with their original speedlight flash modifiers. Recently, they debuted their latest lighting product for photographers, the MagBeam. Functioning as a fresnel lens for your flash, the MagBeam provides a creative boost by easily adding a blast of color or patterns to your images. This article will highlight some of MagMod’s newest products with a special emphasis on the new MagBeam.
What is MagMod?
MagMod (short for MagnetMod) is a company which offers a series of compact, super durable flash modifiers that easily attach to your speedlight flash via ultra strong magnets. The magnets make it super simple to switch out modifiers, or even add color gels without having to pause and interrupt your photo shoot for too long. We first introduced this unique speedlight modifier in a MagMod review awhile back (read it to learn more about the MagGrip, MagGrid, and MagGels).
Since that initial review, MagMod has expanded its product line to include the products below (the MagSphere, MagSnoot, MagBouce, and MagGrip). All of them have a built-in slot for easily adding color-correcting gels.
MagSphere is an omnidirectional modifier that transforms your speedlight’s harsh flash into a bare-bulb light source by increasing the size of your flash over 250%. Use it like a small bounce card or on-camera diffuser.
Made from a large piece of silicone, the MagBounce increases the size of your flash by 300%. It delivers incredibly soft light and is akin to having a small softbox that is super easy to setup.
This unique, collapsible snoot can easily be expanded or contracted to deliver a focused beam of light. MagSnoot is perfect for using as a hair light or highlight in product or portrait photography.
If you’ve ever wanted to project a variable spotlight pattern as a photography supplement or background, MagBeam has you covered. This compact system gives you a portable Fresnel spotlight that produces an even light with soft edges and a soft shadow. Since this product is a little more complex that the above-mentioned modifiers, we’ll be doing a deeper dive into its features.
Two main uses of the MagBeam
MagBeam can be paired with one of two different lenses that produce very distinct effects. The MagBeam Tele Lens is used to project a focused beam of light, similar to a spotlight. It also gives you two to three extra stops of usable light. This is handy for wildlife photographers to light subjects in the distance. You might also use this Tele Lens to get a tight, concentrated, beam of light for creative portrait or product photography.
The other option is a MagBeam Wide Lens. Use it in conjunction with custom-made metal disks known as MagMasks and you can create projected light patterns for creative backgrounds or lighting effects. You can also stick MagMod color gels into the MagBeam to add a blast of color.
What’s in the MagBeam Kit box?
The MagBeam can be purchased in several different ways, but the most comprehensive way is to order the whole MagBeam Kit. It comes with the MagBeam itself, a tele lens, wide lens, and MagMask Standard Set. You can add on extra MagMasks as accessories, and load up on colored artistic and creative gels as optional accessories.
MagBeam in Practice
The MagBeam itself is like a bigger, wider version of the MagSnoot. It’s made of black silicone and can be easily collapsed or extended. When collapsed, the MagBeam is super compact and easy to stick in your camera bag. Using the MagBeam is simple. All you have to do is attach the magnetic end to your speedlight flash via a MagGrip (NOTE: this is not included with the MagBeam you need to buy it separately), then stick a plastic fresnel lens on the wide end.
Speaking of the two Fresnel lenses, they look identical but are actually quite technical, so you must use them correctly to get the right effect. As an example, the wide fresnel lens must be used when the MagBeam is fully collapsed in order to use the included MagMasks (described in detail below) to create a light pattern. It’s not complicated, but you might have to do some experimenting and read some manuals before jumping right in.
Things to Consider
There is only one possible thing to consider about the MagMod before investing in this system. MagMod magnets that attach to your flash are impressively strong. Once you attach the modifier, it certainly isn’t going to fall off by accident. But sometimes the magnets are a little too strong. I often have to use two hands to carefully pull the MagMod modifiers off to avoid accidentally breaking my flash. I also have to make sure the MagMod units aren’t too close to other magnetic items in my camera bag otherwise, they’ll stick together.
NOTE: If you have any concerns about using magnets next to your electronic equipment this video should answer your concerns. Items they do say to keep away from magnets include:
- Older spinning hard drives
- Credit cards and bank cards
- Older televisions
- Most importantly, pacemakers!
Overall, I love the MagMod system and always have it in my on-the-go photography kit. In particular, I’ve been using the MagSphere for event photography and the MagBounce as a replacement to my Westcott Rapidbox softbox for food and portrait photography. In both cases, I appreciate how compact the modifiers are. They’re so convenient that I can stash them in my camera bag and simply pull them out whenever I need them.
While the MagBeam took a little more trial and error to figure out, I’ve also been using the wide fresnel lens and gobos to add a splash of color and creativity to my product and food shots.
If you shoot a lot with speedlights and are looking for compact and flexible lighting modifiers to add to your kit, I highly recommend the MagMod system!